Get to Know Featured Instructor and Bead Artist Cindy Holsclaw

Are you registered for our next live webinar, How to Stitch Prismatic Right-Angle Weave with bead artist Cindy Holsclaw? I've been lucky enough to be able to spend time in person with Cindy as her classroom assistant at Bead Fest Philadelphia, but just in case you've never had the chance to meet Cindy or take a class with her, we asked her a few questions so that you could get to know more about this talented and innovative bead artist!

Where are you from originally, and where do you currently live? I've lived in California my whole life; I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area, but I'm currently living in sunny San Diego.

What do you do besides beading? (What's your day job) Designing and teaching new beading projects is currently my full-time job. Before I transitioned into beading full-time, I worked as a scientist at UC Davis. My doctorate is in biochemistry and molecular biology, and science continues to inspire many of my beadwork designs.

How and when did you start beading? I've been into crafts throughout my whole life; my great-grandmother did every craft imaginable (crochet, sewing, painting, and she was a master at French beaded flowers), and I inherited my crafty genes from her. I'm a big geometry geek, and I've enjoyed making geometric origami for quite some time. I started beading in earnest about nine years ago after helping out a family friend with her retail business, and it was around this time that I learned that the geometric structures that I enjoyed creating with origami can also be made with beads! From then on I was hooked.

How would you describe your personal style? Much of my work is inspired by mathematics, science, and the natural world. I love making geometric beaded beads and beaded components, and I incorporate many floral motifs into my work as well. I also enjoy creating beaded molecules, which are accurate 3D structures of real molecules represented in beadwork.  Once a science geek, always a science geek!

What other creative pursuits do you enjoy? I enjoy folding origami when I'm not beading, and I like crocheting small projects every now and then too.

Tell us about your beading studio… what kind of space inspires you? I'm fortunate to have a dedicated beading studio for my work. It's currently split up into several small spaces for the tasks that I need to do to run my business (beading, illustrating, shipping, photography, and storage). I keep much of my work out on display on one wall of my studio so that I can review my current project offerings, which gives me a good sense of where my work is going and where I may want to branch into a different direction.

What has been your favorite project recently? Gosh, I'm working on so many projects at once! I'm enjoying working with the new four-hole QuadraTile beads, which present a completely new bead engineering challenge compared to what I'm used to. I'm also looking forward to teaching a new floral necklace which features two different kinds of geometric beaded beads covered with little beaded flowers. I also recently took a wonderful class from the master bead artist David Chatt, and I'm looking forward to incorporating the techniques that I learned in that class into my current work.

How has blogging and owning a business influenced your process? I'm very thankful that I design, write, and teach beading projects for a living, but it's not a profession without its challenges. When I design a new beading project to write up for a pattern or to or teach, I have to think about so many more things than I do when I bead for fun: Will anyone else like this project? What will students learn if they take this class? Is it too easy? Too hard? Will it to be difficult to photograph? Have I illustrated a project like this before? What colors should I use? Are these beads easy to find? Can I get these same beads again to make kits? What price should I set for this project? And then there's all the time that I spend taking photographs, illustrating, writing, proofreading, making kits, managing my website, keeping records, marketing, networking, and keeping up with the current trends in the industry. A comparatively small amount of my time is actually spent beading.

What's your current beading soundtrack? I like to listen to music and podcasts when I'm beading or working on illustrations; I usually listen to NPR podcasts, though there are a few craft and self-publishing podcasts that I enjoy too. When I'm writing a beading pattern or blogging, I like to listen to quiet music without vocals so I can focus on my writing. However, my husband is a symphonic musician and practices every day, so live French Horn music regularly ends up being part of my soundtrack too.

If you want to learn more about how to stitch using prismatic right-angle weave, you won't want to miss our next live webinar: register now for How to Stitch Prismatic Right-Angle Weave, and even if you can't attend the live event, you'll be among the first to receive a link to the recorded presentation that you can download and watch again and again as you bead and learn. Register now for How to Stitch Prismatic Right-Angle Weave, and learn more about this fascinating variation of right-angle weave!

Bead Happy,


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